Pandemic hits Marlow FM as events continue to be cancelled

The managing director of Marlow FM is confident the volunteer-led station can make it through the rest of this year but says it could struggle after that as the pandemic continues to hit smaller businesses.

Graham Duthie says that a lot of the station’s revenue that it usually gets from events such as Pub in the Park and the Marlow Town Regatta have dried up, as COVID-19 restrictions hampered these occasions.

It also features at the town’s various festive events including the late night shopping event, which would normally be taking place in a few months time but has recently been cancelled.

Marlow FM therefore has to think differently about how it can raise money to pay the bills, Graham added, and it has now launched a new fundraising drive to do just that.

A GoFundMe page has been set up and although Graham is thankful for generosity earlier in the lockdown, as people donated radio equipment, he is now asking for the community’s hand to see the station through some tough financial waters.

“Whether it is sponsored events, sponsored programmes, potentially running a jumble sale, we are open to all ways of raising money,” Graham said.

“We have come to the stage now where we need some cash to pay some bills.

“If we do not get anything else at all, we have got enough to keep us going until the end of the year, but when bills start falling next year we won’t have the cash to pay them.

“There is electric, rent, performing rights – you name it, there is a bill attached to it.”

Despite tough times forecast, the station is continuing to adapt and has just launched new afternoon talk shows and a fresh website.

Graham added: “Before COVID, we would have people in the studio and would generally have three or four guests.

“We have been able to keep that going through COVID so we still have people in as guests, but it is virtual.

“We see our main reason for existing as to serve the community in Marlow. Having a community radio station is a way of connecting people.”

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